Mortgage rates slipped very slightly this week, to a national average of 8.53% on 30-year, fixed-rate loans, according to a survey by HSH Associates. A week earlier, the rate was 8.57%.

The highest rate in the country was in the St. Louis area, at 8.88%, while the lowest was in the Washington, D.C., area at 8.31%. After adjusting for differences in points, borrowers are required to pay up front, the rates for the two and the national average were quite similar at just under 9%.

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